BETHANY England is hoping to replicate fellow Barnsley footballer John Stones by being an ever-present for an England team that reaches the finals of a home European Championship – then going one better and lifting the trophy at Wembley.
Both Stones and England are 27, having been born in Barnsley Hospital in the same week in 1994.
Manchester City defender Stones played every game for Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions in Euro 2020 last year, including the final at Wembley which saw Italy win on penalties, and will hope to go one better in the World Cup in Qatar which starts in November.
Bethany, the Chelsea striker, has been a regular scorer for the Lionesses recently and is hoping to be selected for the women’s Euros held in July across England.
“I love John Stones,” Bethany told the Chronicle.
“People are always pointing out that we’re from the same place.
“I would like to hope he’s just as proud to be from Barnsley as I am.
“I’m from Kingstone and he’s from not far away (Thurlstone).
“I would love nothing more for us to both win trophies for England in the future, for the town of Barnsley as well.
“The men came so close last year and I am sure they will have other chances.”
England have never won the women’s Euros, losing in the final in 1984 and 2009. This summer’s tournament will be held across ten venues including Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane and Rotherham’s New York Stadium, while the final is at Wembley.
“I am hoping it gets just as big coverage as the men’s Euros got and brings the country together as much. I went to some of the men’s games and the atmosphere was sensational. Hopefully we can get that kind of buzz and feel for the women’s tournament as well.
“It’s good that games will be played up and down the country so fans will have a chance to watch. Hopefully Covid has calmed down by then.
“I am really excited for what it could mean for women’s football in England. Hopefully we get massive crowds.”
England has scored eight goals in 15 appearances for England, including six in the autumn of 2021 as Sarina Wiegman’s side recorded some huge scorelines including a 20-0 win over Latvia in Doncaster.
“It would be my first ever major tournament for England. I am desperate to be in the squad especially on home soil with my family and fiends watching.
“It would be a remarkable achievement. Fingers crossed I will be in the squad and we will do really well. I think we have a very good chance of going far, I don’t know how far but we will do well.
“Winning a home Euros is probably the highest peak you could get to in your career.
“Then there’s a World Cup the next summer then the Paris Olympics in 2024 so hopefully I can play in all of them.
“I am happy with the confidence Sarina has had in me.
“I have had decent minutes and been scoring which is positive.”
Bethany’s immediate focus is on Chelsea, for whom she has mainly been a substitute recently behind players such as Australian superstar Sam Kerr.
Emma Hayes’ side were knocked out of the Champions League last month but are hoping to repeat the domestic treble, although they will have to bridge a four-point gap to WSL leaders Arsenal.
“Club-wise, I haven’t played as much as I would have liked.
“But it’s not my call to make, I just keep doing my best when I get the chance. I hope this year will be different.
“There will always be competition in elite sport and I am at a top club.
“I just want to prove I deserve to be on the pitch.
“We messed up in the Champions League and then we lost at Reading in the league which is the first time in a long time that we lost two in the bounce.
“The morale was a bit low going into Christmas but now everyone has had a good break and is raring to go. It is a challenge to chase Arsenal now but anything can happen. We have to hope they slip up. The plan is to win the league and retain the two domestic cups.”
Bethany is hoping the season can be completed without more disruption caused by Covid-19.
“It’s started to creep back in with games being postponed. A few of our players and staff have been affected.
“We have to live with it and I hope it doesn’t disrupt too much. It can be really difficult when you have a lot of cancelled games. I hope everyone can stay safe and fans can keep coming.
“It doesn’t just affect health but funding and finances as well. There is only so much clubs can rely on government funding for. It is a genuine tragedy that some clubs have gone into administration or stopped altogether.”